Freedom, Choices and Consequences

St. John Eudes

Judges 2:11-19; Matthew 19:16-22

In yesterday’s gospel reading (Luke 12:49-53), Jesus told us that he came not for peace but for division.  It’s not that he wanted us to be divided, but he also understood that following him would sometimes require that we make difficult choices. 

Today Jesus encounters a young man who wants to gain eternal life.  The young man is a good person:  he follows the commandments.  But he wants to know what else he needs to do.  Jesus asks him to do something he cannot bring himself to do.  He makes two choices.  First, he chooses his wealth and his possessions over following Jesus.  Second, he chooses to rely on himself and forgets his need for the grace of God. Those choices have consequences:  he walks away sad.  His wealth cannot save him and he cannot save himself.

Our first reading describes how the people of Israel also made choices.  They rejected the God of their ancestors for the gods of other nations. They sinned. Because they were separated from God, they suffered.

God wants to save us.  God wants us to be happy.  God wants us to live with him in eternity.  But God has also blessed us with freedom. 

We pray for the grace to use our freedom well. —JC